Fernando Alonso believes this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix in Sochi will allow McLaren to prove its “true performance” against its Formula 1 rivals after a series of “extreme” circuits.

Alonso bounced back from two straight retirements at Spa and Monza to record McLaren’s best result since April at the Singapore Grand Prix two weeks ago, finishing a comfortable seventh as the leading midfield driver.

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McLaren’s form has varied dramatically between circuits this year, but Alonso feels the more regular nature of the Sochi Autodrom circuit will give the team a true reading on where it stands in the midfield battle.

“In a way, it’s a weekend to prove our true performance,” Alonso said.

“I think we’ve been in quite extreme circuits lately, Spa and Monza probably the two weak circuits of our package. Maybe Singapore was one of the best for our package. We know the circuit and we adapt quite quickly there.

“I think we could be somewhere in the middle of this performance on a normal circuit, but at the same time we’ve been introducing some new pieces in the car aerodynamically in the last two or three grands prix, which would be a good place to confirm if we’re in the right direction.

“We expect a tough weekend anyway, because that’s the way it is and the characteristics of Sochi will not be the same as Singapore, we know that.”

McLaren said earlier this month it would look to take some inspiration from the setups it ran at Monza earlier this month for Sochi in a bid to maximise some of the long straights on the circuit.

“We will experiment on that road, I’m sure, tomorrow in free practice,” Alonso said on Thursday.

“Lando [Norris] is doing FP1 so we will try to do some learning but at the same time some time for him and Stoffel [Vandoorne] to get up to speed as well, [and for] me get up to speed into FP2, with the first couple of laps of the weekend.

“So hopefully we still get some learning from the free practice, but this is one of circuits we had in mind when we were testing in Monza, doing different experiments.

“Here, Suzuka, Mexico with the long straight, we will try to keep working on that road.”

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